When Obituary returned in 2005 with Frozen In Time–at that point, its first album in eight years–Decibel was still in its infancy. Fast forward to today, and we’re about to throw two tenth anniversary shows on Saturday night while the death metal legends are about to drop their ninth studio effort, the long-time coming Inked In Blood, later this month. Even though they won’t be in NYC this weekend to celebrate with us, it still seemed like a great time for each member of the Tampa quintet to tell us about some tunes they enjoy listening to. As you’ll quickly see, most of them first saw the light of day in the ’80s. After you check out their picks below, you can pre-order a copy of the band’s Relapse debut here (and be sure to read Jeff Treppel’s piece on them in our current issue).
Nasty Savage’s “Indulgence” (from 1987’s Indulgence)
We grew up in the same neighborhood as Nasty Savage. I remember riding my bike to Ben Meyer’s house just to listen from the road to the band practicing in the garage. This is the single biggest reason we probably formed a band and wanted to play metal music. At the time we had no idea what we were doing, we just knew we were having fun and going for it. Those first two Savage albums still have some of my favorite songs. We opened for them on a few occasions and to this day they all are still very good friends of mine. That was a long time ago, before Internet or even CDs. My first copy [of this record] was on vinyl and I can also remember blasting it in my car on cassette. Those were the days.
Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Cold Shot” (from 1984’s Couldn’t Stand The Weather)
This is some of the greatest music in the world and though it is as far from metal as you can get, Stevie was one of my favorite musicians on the planet. His songwriting and guitar playing abilities made for some of the most brutal songs and solos ever recorded. I was lucky enough to witness him live just months before his death and he lit the stage on fire with his performance. Stevie Ray died in 1990. It’s hard to believe it’s been almost 25 years that he’s been gone. Everybody should experience an SRV album at some point in their lives if they have not. I still find myself playing his music all the time.
Dio’s “Holy Diver” (from 1983’s Holy Diver)
This brings me back to 1984 as a teenager in the backseat of a friends car headed to a Dio concert. This is what made all of us want to become a rock star and what made me become a drummer. Vinny Appice showed me the light and at a very young age I knew this was what I’d become. It really was amazing to witness such a killer concert at a young age. Spoiled me. There was nothing like the arena concerts of the ’80s. This was the era of mechanical dragons and huge stages and production before any festival concept. I still remember standing as close to the front row as my skinny ass could get, watching as Dio swung his “laser-whip” and making shit blow up…the light show and massive stage! I’ll never forget that experience to be able to stand that close to my hero.
Savatage’s “Hall Of The Mountain King” (from 1987’s Hall Of The Mountain King)
One of the most talented brother combo bands to ever exist and still my favorite band in the world. Having the opportunity to grow up in Tampa and witness Savatage (Avatar) at a very young age is the reason I am in a band. I would sneak into back doors of clubs to see them live and we were lucky enough to open for them a couple times. Criss Oliva’s guitar playing was phenomenal and at such a young age. Better than most, up there with only the likes of Randy Rhoads in my opinion. Plus Jon [Oliva] is still one of the best songwriters in metal and has a voice like an angel and witch combined. With all the metal albums released in the world, I still find myself listening to Savatage. It will never get old to me. Good shit!
S.O.D.’s “Speak English Or Die” (from 1985’s Speak English Or Die)
This album was definitely a game changer for me. From the opening riff of “March of the S.O.D.”, there was no turning back. This got me into heavier and more aggressive music and into other crossover bands like Cro-Mags, D.R.I. and Crumbsuckers. I had just gotten into Metallica and Anthrax when this gem came out, but this was even more aggro. The breakdown riff in “Speak English” is still one of my favorites and I still use it for line checks before we go on. Not only is the music great but the lyrical content of these tunes are still relevant to issues going on today. I love how it goes from one extreme with “Fuck the Middle East” to “United Forces”, showing the humorous side of this classic disc. In a world of P.C. idiots trying to do and say all the “right” things, Billy Milano had the balls to say what a lot of people today are afraid to and if you young bucks are easily offended, as Billy would say, kill yourself.
Mastodon’s “The Motherload” (from 2014’s Once More ‘Round The Sun)
I was a guitar tech for these crazy fuckers in ’05 and have been a fan ever since. I really don’t check out vids these days and the ones I have seen here and there mostly blow. It’s the same shit over and over, but Mastodon seem to always do something cool. Troy’s vocals remind me of Gene Simmons in his heyday and their music, totally original, gives a nod here and there to days of Rush and other classic rock bands. Brent is a total badass on guitar, always separating his playing from the rest of the norm. All I can say to the boys is “Ahhh Jeeez!”, you guys are still killin’ it!
King Diamond’s “The Family Ghost” (from 1987’s Abigail)
King Diamond hosted Headbangers Ball one time in ’87 when the Abigail album came out. He debuted the video for “Family Ghost”. The format at that time was to have a different guest host the show each week. You know, back when it was watchable. I was glued to the set when he hosted the show. Mercyful Fate is a huge influence on me and I was loving the King Diamond solo albums as well. It was killer and great visuals. A well made video with King Diamond running around looking evil. I loved it. Plus its an awesome song from a great record!
Judas Priest’s “Painkiller” (from 1990’s Painkiller)
Judas Priest is one of my favorite bands of all time. They put out a few records in the late ’80s that were on the commercial side and the fans started losing faith in them. They hit back hard with this song and the album Painkiller! I remember watching the video in disbelief of how heavy and awesome it was! The production was amazing, the drumming was killer. They were back with a vengeance. Screaming for vengeance if you will. Having Scott Travis in the band injected new life and blood into the band. Great video!
Celtic Frost’s “Circle Of The Tyrants” (from 1985’s To Mega Therion)
Before I heard Celtic Frost, I was jammin’ out to Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Black Sabbath, among others, but the day I heard Apocalyptic Raids by Hellhammer, the shit hit the fan. It was the heaviest, most brutal music that my ears had ever heard. To be honest, Hellhammer and the first few Celtic Frost releases are still some of the heaviest albums that have ever been recorded to date. If you have ever watched the video for “Circle of the Tyrants”, you will know what I am talking about. Are you morbid?
Slayer’s “Kill Again” (from 1985’s Hell Awaits)
Slayer! What more can I say? If you truly love heavy metal, you will have at least one Slayer album in your collection. Hell Awaits is overall my favorite Slayer album. It is their most raw album and they took what they did on Show No Mercy to the next level of heaviness. The song “Kill Again” is such a heavy song, lyrically and musically. It is a full blown roller coaster ride. Let’s take that ride. “Kill Again!”
*Pre-order a copy of Obituary’s Inked In Blood here
**For past Decibrity entries, click here